The Intentio of Pastness in Aquinas's Theory of Memory

Dialogue 62 (3):475-489 (2023)
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In the Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas states that the “aspect of pastness” involved in memory is a certain kind of cognitive object — i.e., an intention — apprehended by the “estimative power.” All told, however, Aquinas mentions this idea precisely once. In this article, I construct an account of the idea that pastness is an estimative intention by drawing upon texts in which I argue that Aquinas develops this idea, albeit without invoking the terminology of the estimative intention. I conclude that, by identifying the aspect of pastness as an estimative intention, Aquinas neatly synthesizes the Aristotelian and Arabic traditions on memory.

Author's Profile

John Jalsevac
University of Toronto, St. George Campus


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